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St. Teresa's spirituality a cure for modern ills, Pope says

February 02, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI devoted his weekly public audience on February 2 to “one of the highest examples of Christian spirituality of all time,” St. Teresa of Avila.

The Pope traced the life of St. Teresa (1515-1582), her reform of the Carmelite order, and her enormous spiritual influence. He pointed in particular to “her profound christocentric spirituality and her breadth of human experience.”

Pope Benedict, who has devoted his recent Wednesday audiences to the most influential women in the development of Christian thought, has indicated that he will now concentrate on the doctors of the Church. St. Teresa would qualify under both headings; she was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI.

The most important lesson of St. Teresa, the Pope said, is her understanding of “prayer as an intimate friendship with Christ leading to an ever greater union of love with the Blessed Trinity.” That message, he remarked, could provide an important antidote to the problems of “our current society, often lacking in spiritual values.”

“Time spent in prayer is not lost,” the Pope reminded his audience. “It is a time in which we open the way to life, learning to love God and his Church ardently, and to show real charity toward our neighbors.”


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